5 Great Places to Kayak on Your Outer Banks Vacation


kayaking outer banks vacation

For those who love to kayak (or have always wanted to), Outer Bank vacations are just what the doctor ordered. With miles and miles of waterways scattered throughout the barrier islands, there are so many places from which to launch whether you are in the mood to explore canals where there is abundant wildlife or go to extreme and paddle through the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Here are five great places to kayak.

Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve

Here you get longing points for two great places to kayak – Currituck Sound and Kitty Hawk Bay. Both offer a great way to explore the waterways as well as get up close and personal with some the wildlife throughout the reserve. Currituck Sound extends from Currituck south to Duck (about 30 miles north-south) with the entrance to the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve just beyond the Wright Memorial Bridge. It is perfect for anyone who wants a good workout by paddling towards Currituck. Kayaking on Kitty Hawk Bay brings to life just exactly how much wildlife lives on the OBX (bird watching paradise). It is undeveloped and protected and offers a varied ecosystem with open water and small marshy islands. Most importantly, if you choose to hit either of these waterways via the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve, be sure to do it early because the reserve closes at sunset.

Pea Island Wildlife Refuge

Wow is the first word uttered when kayaking here. Located at the north end of Hatteras Island, the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge is about 10 miles south of Nags Head. As one of the best places on the OBX to kayak, you can explore one of the most spectacular preserves which quintessentially display what the Outer Banks is about. Whether you take a guided tour or head out on your own, be prepared to be mesmerized by everything that you see. This is a "must-do" for photographers because you have to see it to believe it.

Pamlico Sound

One of the most popular bodies of water on the Outer Banks (second only to the Atlantic Ocean), Pamlico Sound is an excellent spot for kayakers of all levels. It measures 80 miles long and 15-20 miles wide and encompasses much of the western side of the OBX coastline extending the edge of Bodie Island down to Portsmouth Island. The fairly shallow waters (only 5-6 feet deep well off shore) make it perfect for kayaking and other water activities like paddle boarding, kite boarding, and windsurfing. Birdwatchers can have a field day with the number of feathered friends along the Sound including herons, white ibises and snowy egrets. On rare occasions, they might even spot a white pelican, or even American Bald Eagle. Whether for pleasure or a good workout, this is the perfect place to spend a day or just an hour or two.

Roanoke Sound

Roanoke Sound by kayak offers nature lovers the perfect way to see a well-known part of the Outer Banks from a different perspective. It is a pretty easy way to find unchartered areas (especially towards the northern part near Wanchese) of the Sound as well as the parts of downtown Manteo along the waterfront. On top of this, there are tons of wildlife and beautiful views of water, marshlands and other areas.

Atlantic Ocean

Primarily for experienced kayakers, ocean kayaking is kind of like surfing because the objective is to paddle out to the larger breaks and ride the waves towards the shore. For those who just want to enjoy the vastness of the Atlantic, kayaking past the breaks and further out to sea is a little more relaxing (after navigating the strong surf).

A Different Location Every Day

Kayakers visiting the Outer Banks can enjoy kayaking in a different location every day if they choose. Kayak rentals are plentiful and offer daily and weekly rates. We have tons of information about kayaking so just ask us when inquiring about our Outer Banks vacation rentals.

With all of the horrible weather this winter, start making plans for Outer Bank vacations. It definitely helps knowing that summer is not that far away!

Elan vacations has the perfect Outer Banks vacation rental for your family. Contact us at 866-760-ELAN (3526).